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  CSPAN    Washington Journal    News/Business. Journalists and  
   policy-makers take viewer questions; newspaper articles.  

    July 26, 2011
    7:00 - 10:00am EDT  

congressman dan burton who serves on the house foreign affairs committee and former deficit commission member, rep gen p schakowsky will join us and we will talk with bradford fitch later. >> we know we need to do to cut our deficits. >> the sad truth is that the president wanted a blank check six months ago and he wants a blank check today. this is just not going to happen. ♪ host: in one week the u.s. will reach that deadline for the debt limit. after talks fell apart on the weekend, john boehner put forward his own plan and senate democrats followed suit with
their own plan. we turn to you to get your take on the diverging paths. the telephone numbers are on the screen. we want to get your take on what you think about these two different proposals. we want to show you what house speaker john boehner put together. this is his idea for the debt limit. he would like to cut at $one. to trillion in discretionary spending. no mandatory spending cuts to social security or anything like that. the debt ceiling raised it to 2012, but lifted again before the election. it would be a two-step process. note decreases -- no more increases without further cuts. a bipartisan super committee would recommend further cuts and a vote on a balanced budget amendment by october 1 in both chambers.
then harry reid came out with his own plan. it cuts $120 trillion, a bipartisan support committee would recommend further cuts, no debt -- the debt ceiling would be raised for 2013, excuse me. past the election. no tax increases as well. the majority leader's plan would not cut medicare or social security as well. where would you compromise? where would you ask your party to compromise? larry is a democrat in memphis, tenn.. where do you think the democrats should compromise? caller: i like the democratic plan with harry reid. and what about the middle class? the middle class is paying everything and republicans continue to protect big
business and the rich, which makes no sense. he put medicare, medicaid, and sells a security on the table. the republicans did not put anything on the table. it is their way or the highway. they want him to fail. that is what this is all about, they want obama to fail so that they can get reelected and put in the same thing that got us into this in the first place. war, and funded, and paid mandates like -- unpaid mandates like bush did with the medicaid plan. this is ridiculous. host: a republican in new york, massachusetts.
caller: i have been following this debate very closely. it sounds like it is smoke and mirrors. it is taking credit for winding down the war in afghanistan and iraq and not really cutting the deficit. we're boring 40 cents on the dollar for every dollar that we spend in washington. and we cannot keep doing this. one thing i like to see is the repeal of obamacare. that alone would save us $2.5 trillion in the next 10 years. as far as the reid plan, i like to see him get it through the senate. i did not think that it would pass. host: couple we go to an independent in michigan, here is what the "new york times calls " says this morning.
go ahead. caller: i called my representative yesterday and asked him to work with the president to compromise and make sure that the debt ceiling is raised over into 2013. this is destroying our economy. host: where do you see compromise? caller: th reid plan has cuts and take this off the table
until 2013. i think that that makes sense. host: so you do not agree with republicans on this. caller: i do not. there is trillions of dollars being cut. let's take this and we don't want to make this something that the rest of the world is going to use against us. our dollar is worth nothing in the last 10 years, what you think gold is going up? those of the richest people in the world of investing in gold. host: have you ever voted for republican? caller: i voted for george w. bush. i am not proud to say it now. host: and you voted for obama. caller: i did. host: who is your representative? caller: thaddeus maqtada. -- mccotter.
it took awhile to go through. host: was that after the president's speech? caller: yes, and after john maynard, the both of them. host: the president called on you to reach out to members of congress if you wanted compromise. as our caller just told us, it was difficult to get through. many of the representatives -- we will talk about how you reached out to your lawmaker, whether a social media or town hall meetings in our last hour of "washington journal." bop as a republican in baltimore, maryland. caller: i am interested in this debate, watching it since january. it has been a problem for a lot longer than that.
it is too late to say this now but the time for compromise should have been months ago when the president said all i want a clean debt ceiling increase and he was told flatly at that point and that he was not going to get that. then he should have started compromising. or at least of all that position, to his death at commission reduction plan -- his deficit commission reduction plan that was given to him and he chose to essentially ignored. host: you laid out where the president should come from. do you think your party should compromise? caller: they have put plan after plan after plan after plan on the table for the president. just because the president does not like it does not mean he cannot move toward it. the spending cuts that are being done, i am an accountant so the
spending cuts being done are not enough to really solve this problem. it is a step in the right direction. host: what about tax revenue? caller: well, my personal opinion and this is where i differ from the republican party, they should let all of the tax cuts expire in december. and let the chips fall where they made. host: let's go to a democratic caller in washington, d.c. caller: the republicans are not interested in solving the problems for the benefit of the country. what is interesting -- what they are interested in is making the president appeared they've made comments in the media did not pick up on this, where he stated that his responsibility is the same as the president.
the president is the president of united states. the highest offer, and boehner is the speaker of the house. he is not the same as the president. he does not have the same responsibilities. and he is not trying to reach a compromise. they are trying to make sure the president does not end up winning the next election. host: let me show you another is what john boehner had to say after the president addressed the nation last night and then we will come back and get your reaction. >> the house passed a bill with bipartisan board. this week while the senate is struggling to pass a bill filled with phony accounting and washington gimmicks, we're going to pass another bill, one that was developed with the support of a bipartisan leadership of the u.s. senate. obviously i expect that bill can and will pass the senate, and be sent to the president for his signature. if the president signs it, this crisis atmosphere that he has
created will simply disappear. the debt limit will be raised, spending will be cut by more than $1 trillion, and s there is bipartisan committee of the congress will begin the hard unnecessary work of dealing with a tough challenges our nation faces. host: you just heard the house speaker from last night. what you think? he is saying that this is a compromise. it does not give the republicans everything that they want and it does i give the president everything that he wants, either. but it is a way to raise the debt ceiling. caller: they are doing the total opposite. boehner is a very weak leader. cantor is trying to get his job. there is a conflict going on between the republicans. in terms some cantor and the people they represent the caucus, boehner is there.
why would he call a talk-show radio host to get his opinion about his proposal if he is going to put it before them? host: let's hear from the president about what he said about the senate democrats' plan which he endorsed last night. >> it makes a down payment on deficit reduction and make sure that we do not have to go through this again in six months. that is a much better approach. although, serious deficits and reductions would still require us to tackle the tough challenges of entitlements and tax reform. either way, i have told leaders of both parties that they must come up with a fair compromise in the next few days that can pass both houses of congress and a compromise that i can sign. host: president obama from his address to the nation from the white house last night. where would you compromise? where do you want your body to compromise on this issue?
-- your party to compromise on this issue? "wall street journal" has the mechanism for passing these plans. on the speaker's plan, the cuts come in one vote, producing enough room to get the plants. this is the speaker's plan, not the harry reid plan.
veronica is an independent in virginia. you're next. caller: i say a pox on both of their houses. the two parties are tearing this country apart. the republicans, they will destroy this country and everybody's job to get elected. whatever they do, here they are going to refuse, because they want the president to take the economy. they voted for everything against what would create jobs for people. they do not want jobs created. they won a bad economy because that is the only way they will get elected. i think it's outrageous what
they are doing and the people -- in a what? i follow it too closely. i just do not allow-i think the democrats have compromised all that they can, frankly. thank you for my time. host: then he asked you about this facebook message from jonathan alice which he posted after the president spoke. this is referring to the senate majority leader's plan that counts on that winding down as part of the savings. caller: the american people want them to wind down. maybe this will force it. i think that is a very good point. the american people, democrats and republicans and independents, they want the wars to wind down. i think that they created this
problem and did not pay for that, doing those two wars, it just so they can destroy the social safety net of this country. they have created this crisis, the republican party, and despise the social safety net. it will do anything they can to destroy this country to get rid of it. host: that was brought up. if you want to continue the conversation on facebook, go to you can also send us an e-mail at let's go to panama city, florida. caller: it is interesting that the lady is talking about the republicans destroying america, considering that the president we have now has been the closest thing to a dictator that america has seen.
he passed a health care against the popular vote, and he is also trying to ram everything else down the public's throat. if it passes the house and it passes the senate who represent us, then he should not veto it. obviously. i mean, that is the majority of the people who have been represented. just because he does not get his way, he is going to throw a tantrum and veto it. host: from twitter. we're talking about two different plans laid out yesterday, one by john boehner, republican of ohio. the other by senate majority leader harry reid, a democrat of nevada. arizona, democratic caller, your next.
caller: this is been driving me crazy. everyone on one side is trying to paint obama as demanding his own way. president obama has not pulled any cuts out. he welcomes any talk of cut, even saying he is willing to work with changing the formula for cost-of-living increases on social security, which as everyone knows, is one of the biggest task for democrats. the only thing that he is asking for, which the republicans refuse to move on 1 centimeter, is asking the wealthiest people , the wealthiest corporations such as the oil companies, making the biggest profits of any corporations in the history of the world, asking them to give up some of their subsidies or tax breaks. let us be clear.
it is the republicans they refuse to give them one iota, and the president has not been a rigid. he has not pulled out in the type of willingness to look that different types of tax cuts. and the media, they need to point that out. this is not he said, she said. host: what about the progressive democrats in the house and senate that will not back up cuts to medicare and medicaid? are they and willing to compromise? caller: i understand their position. but the president is the leader of the democratic party. they may say that, but i am sure that if a decent deal is worked out and it is not a medicare or medicaid or social security change that hit set hard, i am
pretty sure they would go along with it. but let us be clear -- social security subsidizes the federal budget. our budget does not pay into social security. social security funds have been subsidizing -- so many talk about social security is ridiculous. but he is been willing to even look at that. host: i will leave it there. a little analysis on how this could shakeout.
the house is expected to vote on wednesday at the earliest on the proposal. terminals, california, a republican.
caller: i think the democratic callers who think that the republicans have been playing politics should listen to this quote from a famous center. the fact that we are here debating raising the debt ceiling is a sign of failure. this being shifted on to the backs of our children and printed appeared america has said debt problem and the failure of leadership. that senator was barack obama on one of the three times that a debt ceiling raises came up while he was in the senate. i was a onetime that he voted no. the other two times, he did not even vote. i wish they would listen to barack obama's own words. host: from twitter.
here's the front page of "politico." if you go inside the story, it gives a little bit more detail about what the speaker is planning. it says that about $600 billion more in spending cuts -- here it is. the speaker stepped back -- illinois, steve, an independent. good morning. caller: 90 for having me on.
i do not know it anyone was listening but jeff sessions was just on from alabama. the way that he put it, we are spending $150 billion a year in the war in afghanistan and iraq. senator reid's idea of a cutting -- he is going to reject that and save $100 billion a year because they are going to take it down the $50 billion a year through 10 years. they're considering that $1 trillion, plus $200 billion in interest savings. that brings it to $1.2 trillion. i don't see that as being any savings whatsoever. if anyone has any sense at all, they would vote this not out. thank you. host: us go to illinois, a
democratic caller. caller: speaker john boehner said last night that obama created this problem but that is not true. the debt ceiling was something that had been raised by previous presidents over and over again. the american people hardly knew anything about it. the republicans decided to use this as a way to hold the americans hostage to get what they wanted. i think obama should go ahead and give them the tax cuts, but the bush tax cuts expire in 2012, and then we will get the money that we need and get it done. but the republicans are willing to hold this country hostage and they do not care. if the economy falls down, it will hit everybody, not just the democrats. everyone is going to suffer. they do not care. it is really sad. host: mark, a republican in california.
to the republicans not care? are you with us? caller: good morning. i am really confused about -- i have been a republican all my life. first of all, i have never seen the debt of both come this far. -- vote come this far. it is political posturing on my side of the fence, being a republican. the only thing i can say is, if the republicans are going to force this thing, they're going to force americans into the dark ages. i hate to say that about my party, but it is time to put the brakes on the conservative people that do not care anything about money. all they care is about reelection. host: richard, an independent
scholar, from virginia. caller: it is unbelievable listening to some of these people. the democrats have controlled the house and the senate, obama is in the white house for cluster three years. this is their economy. this is their issue. i realize both are responsible for the debt. but this president and this party of late has driven it through the roof. through the roof. i hope the house republicans stand firm. i really do, because they -- you can tax rich people at 90%, and take everything they got, it will not solve the problem very you can stop all foreign aid which i wish they would, but it will not solve the problem. host: charles schumer said this last night. at the news conference yesterday
with senate majority leader harry reid and senators schumer, here is what the majority leader had to say about his proposal. >> the bill meets republican demands that contains no revenues and the amount of the cuts meet the amount of the debt ceiling increase. they wanted one-one that is what we have given them. all republicans have to do is say yes. host: the deadline is one week from today. here is "usa today" with this story. the problem is that no one knows exactly when that date will be. increasingly and number say that is later than previously thought. the u.s. might have another week, possibly longer, before it hits the wall on the balance sheet.
revenues were $14 billion more in july, than previously expected.
there will have to repents $91 billion in debt. it is a story in many of the newspapers. let me show you the opinion of "usa today." they had problems with all the different proposals that are out there. in the opposing view this morning, why i would not raise the debt ceiling. i am not convinced that august that it will be armageddon.
that is in the op/ed pages of "usa today." another newspaper, of the " washington post" finds problems with harry reid's plan but say it is the best of the options. the "new york times" editorial says, the republican wreckage. rejecting a plan that gives them everything because democrats proposed it. the result would be to stage this debate over again, referring to the plan, in an election year. this would certainly result in an immediate downgraded the government's credit. that is on john boehner's plant.
and the of the " wall street journal" calls president obama's speech last night a leader said the fall. caller: i am disappointed with honor and the republican party because of how the republican party used to be. it is now the tea party. passionate and emotional but have no clue what they're going to do for the country. it will affect the middle class and the poor people of this country. republicans do not realize it because they are for the wealthy people. they are for social security cuts, medicare, and other cuts in benefits for people who live from day to day, and they're not asking the wealthy to pay their share. they said that job creation will be affected. the bush tax cuts which went up
for eight years did not create any new jobs. the higher cuts under clinton did pay jobs. even though i am a republican, obama should raise the debt ceiling because he is the president. i do not think -- he should for the sake of the country raise the debt ceiling. host: you think that he should employ the 14th amendment. caller: no, the ceiling has to be raised because it is things that americans navarro -- already borrowed. host: mike ross, the only democrat in arkansas, will not seek reelection.
next to that is a story about david wu facing pressure monday after nancy pelosi called for an ethics investigation over a 18- year-old woman's claim of on wanted sexual encounters with the congressman. there you see a picture of the congressman. it says according to his office that he will not seek reelection but has not decided whether or not he will step down. because the bloomington, ill., to a republican. what you think about these proposals and how would you like to see the republican party compromise? caller: the most important thing is jobs, jobs, jobs. everyone should examine both programs and determine which one produces the most jobs. every morning when the senate opens, the democrats always say,
you have not done anything about jobs, jobs, jobs. that is all that i have to say. host: speaking of jobs, the front page of the "york times -- "new york times." also inside the "washington post," they have a new poll vaulting president obama on jobs. let's go to georgia. caller: when president obama came out with a lot of his jobs proposals, the republicans voted
against it. then they went on tv in a factory somewhere, saying that they were doing stuff for the small business, but they voted against the small business deals. i think boehner is a weak leader, because he had some things he wanted to do with obama, but when he took it back to the tea party, they told him what to do. it became president obama's fall. host: we will hear from annapolis, thomas, a democratic coaller. caller: the republicans will destroy this country a to get hold of the presidency next year. obama to me is not even -- a naive fool. he is going to negotiate with the republicans in the greedy rich over the taxes.
the you think that they will agree to taxes that will make them pay $1 more? what kind of toll is he? he should stop the extension of the bush tax cuts last year. they have been in effect now for six years, and they have not created one single job that i know of. we are in the toilet in economics because of those tax cuts. i also like to hear some prominent jews come out and say do not send any money to israel until we get our economy straight now. they will not do that. host: mark that in kalamazoo, michigan. caller: i was hoping to hear something from obama that would encourage the discussion, but it was very partisan. i was hoping for something presidential. i left feeling very upset with
the country, both republicans and democrats. i think that obama lacked the leadership. host: on the issue of the two proposals from boehner and harry reid, the one thing they have in common is this idea of a separate committee that would put together a bipartisan panel of lawmakers to recommend further cuts that in the house and the senate would have to vote up and down on. what you make of that? do you think that that is something that the two sides should get behind? caller: i thought there was a similar committee they came up with a way to reduce the deficit? host: the president's bipartisan committee. caller: but nothing came of that. we need to communicate and compromise. i totally agree with republicans
that we cannot continue to spend. i do not understand the whole debt limit things. there seemed to be a lot of scare tactics going on, probably on both sides. but what bothers me most is the class warfare, pitting one group of citizens against another. there are no good guys or bad guys. everyone cares about the united states. come to some way of working together. host: "politico"has the story about the panel. it would pick up where the others left off. it may be the last best chance to cobble together enough votes to head off a government default. but the model has long been one all this fails, order up a committee. the financial market analysts warn that they could look dimly upon it.
it tries to solve a political problem but may not satisfy the credit rating agencies that hold some much influence in the debate. the issue of wall street is the front page of many of the newspapers this morning. here is the "wall street journal," inside. global impact from u.s. debt was. financialo in the "fin papers today. in the "usa today" money section --
the country would not the fault or lose its gold-plated aaa rated status. that is that congress establishes budget cuts big enough to satisfy the credit agencies. stocks would make our run at new bull market highs. it cannot pass a sizable plan, the downside would be limited to 10%. scenario 3, the worst outcome -- let's go to maryland, angela, an independent. caller: i'm a first-time caller. i am a social conservative and a fiscal conservative. i used to both the republican
party from my local elections to the presidential elections. the worst thing that happened to the republican party is eric cantor. he reminds me of a child is totally intransigent. he is rude to the president and shows he is all talk and he cannot stand the heat in the kitchen. the tea party has taken over the republican party. why should grover norquist ask republican members to sign a pledge to him? he has not got our country. the republicans no longer represent me. they are behaving like a step further wives. -- stepford wives. this is not the reagan
republican party that i used in them. this is really pathetic. people need to stop talking about social security as an entitlement. i have been on -- i am 46 years old. i've been working since i was 21 years old. it is not an entitlement. is money that i have given the government for investment and it is money i want back when i retire. we need to take our party back. this tea party is not working for us. host: allen west, a member of the tea party and came out after john boehner came out with this plan, and said that he would back it. arthur is a republican in cold water, mississippi.
you are on the air. go ahead. caller: i think it as a whole bunch bull that these people that we entrusted our livelihood with. host: we are listening. caller: they are destroying our money. i am 63 years old, not able to work, i barely surviving on the $800 social security check i get, and they're trying to take that away from us. what they need to do is take everybody that got up there at the white house and get them out of there. get the people in know what hard times is to manage people's money. then our country would get back on track and quit taking care of all those foreigners over there that we have to fight. host: i am going to jump in because we're getting feedback. you have to turn your television down when it is your turn to go. let's go to columbus, ohio.
good morning, lenny. caller: i'm embarrassed to be from ohio listening to john boehner speak last night. the republican party does not care about anybody but themselves. it seems like all they are worried about is their election and not the american people. they need to get rid of all of the dinosaurs in washington, cut in half, and take the money that they make every year, that they only work some many months out of the year, and put it into our economy. we do not need all these old dinosaurs in offices dictating how though low class -- because we are low class. we make less than $35,000 a year in my family. we are barely surviving. there people in washington who are surviving great. they have more money than anybody. why are they worried about the
debt ceiling and all of that wednesday should worry about cutting costs on the big oil -- the oil is what is killing the whole country. casses high and people cannot spend their money because they're only getting back and forth to work. they're not able to buy necessary stuff for their families or for anybody. host: many people responded on facebook last night after they heard the comments from john boehner. here is one of them. if you want to continue the conversation this morning from what you've heard from our viewers, what you read in the news, good to, and you can send to say tweet.
that is always that you can communicate with us in your members of congress, we will talk to two them in a few minutes. first, david is a republican in california. you are our last phone call. caller: nice to be on the air. i just wanted to say that obama has been talking the last couple of years about trillion dollar deficits for the foreseeable future. i just do not think he is serious about cutting the deficit. in his own plan, he raises taxes, creating a progressive tax system is right out of the communist manifesto. host: as we promised, to members of congress, we will be talking to jan schakowsky, republican of illinois, in 45 minutes. but up next, dan burton. we will be right back.
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visit college classrooms during lectures and history. go behind the scenes at museums and historic sights on american artifacts. and the presidency looks at the policies and legacies of past american presidents. they are complete schedule at c- signup @ e-mailed to you by pressing the c-span alert button. >> "washington journal" continues. host: we're back with congressman dan burton, republican of indiana. let's look at the john boehner plan that he laid out to all of you in a caucus meeting yesterday. could you vote yes on that? guest: have not seen the entire plan but i probably will. host: what was the message to you yesterday? guest: we have to cut more spending than the debt ceiling increase. he was talking about of $1.2
trillion cap in spending. and a $1 trillion increase in the debt ceiling. a move toward a balanced budget, we are committing to a balanced budget amendment. i know that that is not possible right now but it is something we really need to do. we have 49 states doing that, living within their means. the converse of the united states should as well. the program of cap, a cut, and balance, cat current spending, cut spending, and balance the budget, we're not supporting a tax increase. the worst thing you can do it during an economic problem that we have right now is to raise taxes. we can have on employment and 9.2%. it has been going up instead of them. when you take disposable income out of people's pockets, take money out of business that can be used for investment to create jobs, you will only exacerbate
the problem. that is the program that we talked about and i think it is a good one. host: would you make of the two- step process, of vote to give the president enough room on the debt for six months, but you have to do it again before the election? guest: we have to do what is doable. if we could solve all the problems in one fell swoop, that would be fine. but we have been messing around for a long time and we have now reached a solution. but the speaker has said, let's get this done right now. not for the whole 10 years but cap $1.2 trillion in spending, raise the debt ceiling temporarily, and keep working until we have the final solution, like the balanced budget amendment, explaining how important it is to balance the budget. the president wants to get past the next election. we believe that politics is playing a large part of that. if you can get past the 2012
election, then he is home free. host: could the same not be said to republicans? you are making it difficult for the president to get reelected and hopefully alike more republicans by making this vote, right before the election. guest: not really. if we pass the budget that was sent over from the house originally, we would've gone way past the next election. it would be a permanent solution to the problem. what our budget committee came up with. the white house and the democrats in the senate said, no, that was a nonstarter. so we came up with the sec backed a plan, which the speaker talked about, which would get us moving in the right direction to solve the problem long term, but in the short term, we got one week before the debt ceiling has to be dealt with. if we did not, there is a question about us losing our bond rating. having problems with investments, people who make investments around the world.
so the bottom line is, we are up against it. we have to come up with a solution. a short-term solution is better and then none. i think the president is looking at this from a political standpoint, and we're not. we wanted to go way past the next election. host: let me show you what chuck schumer had to say yesterday at the democrats' news conference. >> make no mistake about it, the two-step plan allied by spinner -- speaker boehner is a dodge. it kicks the can down the road. it results the debt ceiling only for the next few months, and after that, we would be right back at square one, all over again. host: congressman burton? guest: if that would go along with a long-term spending plan that will pass the balanced budget amendment so that we have to live within our means like 49 states do, if they would go
along with making substantial cuts in spending and without raising taxes, which is the wrong thing to do right now, and make the changes that need to be done, i think that the house would support it. as long as it is in line with the cap, cut, and balanced program. but they do not want to do that. the next thing that we have to do is solve the problem right now and the proposal that mr. boehner talked about this today will get the problem solved, at least for the next six months. we like to do it longer, but we have not been able to get the democrats allay any plan on the table. they have now proposed a budget in over 800 days, almost three years. -- they have not proposed a budget and over 800 days, over three years. the keepers finding that it is not a starter. the president wants to spend more money. we want to cut spending. we have increase the deficit by
$3.6 trillion over the last 2.5 years. that is unsustainable. you cannot print that kind of money which out -- without having hyperinflation. the president has to realize we have to cut spending and do it now. host: if you take a look at the two proposals out there, put out there by speaker boehner and harry reid, there are similarities. $1.2 trillion in discretionary cuts, no cuts to medicare, medicaid, and sells a security. you come up with a super committee, a bipartisan group that would recommend further cuts. no further tax increases. the difference is raising the debt ceiling through 2013 under reid's plan, but you have to vote again before the election on boehner's plan. guest: reid has $1.4 trillion in
anticipated cuts from the war in afghanistan and iran. that is something that has already been considered. that is not a real cut predellas already considered before. we thought that we were going to make the spending cuts earlier. so when he throws that end, it is a nonstarter. you'd take that $1.4 trillion yen has cut would only be $1.3 trillion grid and yet they would increase the debt ceiling by almost double that. we believe you do not increase the debt ceiling more than the spending cuts. that just takes us down the same road we have been on, spend more money that you take in, run the printing presses, and keep spending money. host: there are a number conservatives from the house republican study committee that says the speaker does not have my vote. i will not vote for this latest proposal. you so that you're leaning toward yes. what is your bayh's to these younger members, these freshmen members?
guest: we're going to sit down as a conference and talk about this. i am one of the founders of the republican study committee. recall that the conservative action team that now has 170 members. it is a very conservative group. i support their views 99% of the time. i have not made up my mind if i am going to support this plan. i think it does have some merit. but i want to listen them. i will listen to the leadership in conference and hopefully come up with eight ideas to get the job done. host: what if they don't know right now? -- vote no right now? guest: you're turning over all lot of decisions to a committee made up of members from both houses. there is no guarantee that those
cuts are going to be made. what i think needs to be done, and what they need is a guaranteed that we're going to spend less than we are taking in. host: how do you get that guarantee? guest: you get it up front. if the debt ceiling is going to be raised, there have to be spending cuts guaranteed in advance they will achieve that goal. sequestration is one of the methods that we're talking about. host: if you are in the "don't know" column, and you have a number of your fellow rsc members in the same place, what will happen? guest: there may be fine tuning in the conference. i think john boehner has done an extraordinary job in dealing with this. he has kept his cool. he has explained our position very fairly. i thought its response last
night was short but very accurate and extraordinarily good. host: let's go to phone calls. jerry is a democrat in houston, texas. caller: [unintelligible] of the republicans are talking about, spending cuts, spending cuts. [unintelligible] think that the seniors and disabled that there. let's look at the cap. including medicare. the taxes go toward medicare every year. guest: first of all, i had difficulty hearing her. one of the things that is misunderstood is that the rich are not paying their fair share. the top 20% of the income
earners in this country pay over 86% of the taxes. this idea that those that are wealthy are not paying their fair share is erroneous. they pay $86 out of every $100 collected in taxes. no. 2, the people that make the investment in the private sector, those people are the ones that are going to sell products and create jobs. if you do that you will create more taxpayers. the thing that we need to do, if i had my way, would be in addition to spending cuts and balancing the budget, i would cut taxes. i would do it the same way that ronald reagan did, which created 20 years of prosperity.
host: bill, you are on the air. caller: i read a book every day. that book tells me about the love of money in how evil that is. utah about the wealthiest 20%. -- you talked about the wealthiest 20%. this is ridiculous. the wars that we are fighting are protecting them more than people who do not have the means. i would like to get my party back. the tea party, they claim to be christians, i get the love of money is going to be their downfall and they will pull us with them. this needs to be a balanced approach. do not worry about pulling the trigger, the gun is that your
head. host: he talked about -- you are talking about a balanced approach. what do republicans need to compromise on? caller: the problem is we have a group of people trying to pull this government down to zero. i would say that all of these representatives, we should use our money to take them over to somalia, show them what is like to live where there is no government. >> first of all, -- guest: first of all, the gentleman is incorrect. we have a spending problem, but not a revenue problem. we increase revenues by 7% last year. according to the congressional budget office, a nonpartisan organization, the problem is we increase revenues, even though we are in a difficult economic situation, but we almost doubled
that in spending. the administration is out of control as far as spending. we have increased the debt by $3.60 trillion. the national debt is now $14.60 trillion. which is unsustainable. if you take more money out of the pockets of business and industry, that is less money for them to spend and invest. if we take 20% out of your pocket and you do not have the money, you will love by a car, refrigerator, clothes, what ever. because you have to cut back. business and industry are not going to invest unless they are certain about the regulations. it is about knowing the tax structure. their bottom line is going to be in the red.
host: we have received an e-mail -- how many times in the past have you voted to raise the debt ceiling? >> -- guest: i would have to check, but i do not think i have ever voted to raise the debt ceiling. correct me if i am wrong. and i am reluctant to do that right? . that is why i am undecided and anxious to hear what we talk about in the caucus. host: when will you meet again? guest: i am sure that we will meet again today and tomorrow. caller: when are you expecting votes? guest: i would imagine that the speaker would have a conference on it and once we have had everything out, there will be a vote. host: will the speaker give your colleagues two days to read it before it is voted on?
guest: i believe that he will. i am sure that there will be a lot of members that want to express their views on various parts of the proposals. that will be done. we will go into details. host: independent color, gregg, fredericksburg, virginia. caller: one only has to look at the office budget managers of website. i have libertarian leanings. our guest has run $1.60 trillion, up to the highest. we have got to get the spending limit under control. there needs to be tax reform. 50% of americans pay none. i only make $40,000 per year, but i have always paid federal
income tax. there needs to be a reform to have more people that are -- that have skin in the game. those people are probably fine with it the tax system, but we have got to get spending under control. and i would like them to understand to me -- to explain it to me. i want them to explain to me why a balanced budget would be so bad. both sides have to come to an agreement on this. the spending is way out of control. even with the president's estimates, this rosy economic forecast, the gdp rises a great deal. people can go this website and get educated. they do not -- and they cannot say that they do not understand
the problem. host: david jackson says that even if an amendment makes it through congress, two fourths of the state would have to ratify it before it is added to the constitution. do you think this can realistically happen? caller: the last -- guest of the last one that passed was the presidential succession amendment. 49 states have balanced budget amendments. it is inconceivable to me that they would not vote for a national balanced budget. the problem is, unless you have a restriction on spending, whoever is in control of the government will spend more money than they take in. you cannot do that in your household, business, and you should not do in government. host: raymond, ky. caller: be made us put social
security in, now you're going to take it away? the wall need to get your heads out of your ass and get it together. thank you. guest: first of all, we are not taking it away. anyone over 55, there would be no change in your social security. pardon me. on medicare. there would be no change under medicare if you are 55 or older. if you are under 55, you would have the ability to buy insurance like members of congress. for those people that cannot afford it, there would be a government subsidy or some kind of mechanism for them to get their health insurance taking care of. social security is unsustainable the way that it is right now.
what we want to do is incrementally start raising the retirement age. when social security was first put in place, the average age was in the 50's. people did not live to be 75 or 80. as a result, the system needs to be adjusted. we believe that incrementally we should be raising the retirement age. they have done that in other countries because they had to. host: going back to the balanced budget amendment, we have this twitter message -- guest: probably because they have promised to much. they have given too much. you have a lot of states, when you take a state like minnesota, where this exception, according
to the government, the success of benefits are being paid through unions. as a result they tried to bring them back in line with the private sector. health insurance may be being paid for at a higher level. they may want to pay at at the same level as a business person. once you start to make those cuts there is a lot of kickback, pushed back. the bottom line is that if you are spending more than you are taking in, you have a problem that you have to deal with. host: we have another twitter message -- guest: if we raise the debt ceiling without giving control spending, this will never end. the president has increased the debt by $6.30 trillion over the
last 10 years. money that we are praying we do not have. if we do not control the spending at the same time we talk about raising the debt ceiling, what you will have his runaway inflation. the fed and the treasury department are just going to keep planting money as they need it. if people do not think that there is inflation, go to the grocery store and start trying to buy groceries. almost everything is going up. that is because we are putting more money into circulation, chasing the same amount of goods and services. in the early 1980's we had inflation that was double digits. of the only way that they could stop it was by raising interest rates to 21.5%, which killed the economy.
any plan that i am going to vote for it will pass the house, in my opinion, has to deal with spending and not raise taxes. guest -- host: team, republican. caller: the topic is budgets. to begin with, it astounds me that no one is paying attention to the budgets for the last two years. as far as i know, fiscal year 2011 ends on the 30th of september. what we should do is raise the debt ceiling to get us to the end of this 2011 physical year. of at that time what we should be doing is removing our troops and contractors from the middle east and having to do with it the balanced budget amendment. i spoke to a state senator. he thinks they could do
something in two days to come up with a vote. they should move on this stuff. it is just outrageous the way that things are going. guest: we have sent a budget, house republicans have sent a budget to the senate. they have not acted on it. the president has given speeches, but no budget has been proposed. even in the senate. there has not been a budget in almost three years. you cannot run a business, household, or government that way. we sent our budget over there. if they do not like it, they can make adjustments to it and come back. but they will lead to that. if they show where they are going to make the spending cuts, it means part of their political base will be affected and they do not want to lose any part of
that. it comes down to politics on top of anything else. i believe that we have to have a balanced budget amendment. i think we could get three- quarters of the state's to pass it within six months to one year. host: usa today has this headline, "the dead deadline may be more fluid." that there may be more money coming in to help that last longer. what do you think of that? guest: the president might be scared, unnecessarily. senior citizens thinking they cannot get their checks, other essential people in the government not able to function without us raising the debt ceiling. there is enough money coming in to take their social security checks, the military, take care of paying interest on the debt for an undetermined period of
time. there is no question that there will be other areas of government that will have to be cut back to deal with that the amount of revenue coming in and. we will not be so low on revenue that we cannot take care of our obligations. the president is doing a disservice to the seniors and members of the military. host: usa today notes "standard and boris -- standard and poor's is a wild card in this." guest: i know that organizations like that, unlike moody's, are making those kinds of comments. -- like that, like moody's, are making those kinds of comments. they are giving us their view on
whether or not we will be a aaa bond country or a aa bond country. they can do what they want to. " we have to do is get control of the problem, keep taxes low, and balance the budget. if we do those things, ultimately all of those agencies will say that we have done the right thing. >> the hut -- host: the house moved to restrict foreign aid in the latest legislation, insisting that security be provided only if the obama administration certified that no members of terrorist organizations for their sympathizers were serving in the government. how is that possible for the administration to certify? of what would you like to see? guest of the president will have to send something to the congress, saying they have
looked at these countries, that they are not radicals connected to terrorists like al qaeda or the taliban, or the muslim brotherhood. in egypt, for instance, right now, and tunisia and other countries in the middle east, we do not know who is going to be in charge. we are talking about supporting various governments, when they have an election. until we see what happens in the elections, we should not be giving money to those who are sympathetic in working with terrorist organizations in do not have our interests at stake. or want to destroy the state of israel. so, right now, for instance, in egypt the barrier between egypt and gaza has been broken down, in effect. hamas, in control of gaza right now, can bring in more weapons to attack israel.
a signal that really bothers me, because it indicates to the muslim but -- brotherhood that they have more influence than people realize. in the past they have asked for the destruction of israel. and host: the muslim brotherhood is not considered a terrorist group. guest: if you look at their history, they have been committed to changes in the middle east, including the downfall and destruction of israel. there is no question about that. unless there is some way they can convince me they have changed, i will be airing on the side of safety. host: unless the administration certifies that pakistan is making progress in fighting terrorism, this is what howard berman of california has to say --
guest: i agree with that premise. we need to keep pressure on pakistan to make absolutely sure that no part of their government supports radical organizations like the taliban are al qaeda. we have to remember that they are alert -- they are nuclear power. we do not want radical elements in getting control all those weapons. in addition, pakistan is a conduit to get weapons in to fight the taliban. it is a thorny issue in the one that we have to work out. to cut up pakistan immediately would be a mistake. host: greg, independent line. caller: as long as the budget is
an issue, eliminate the patriots back, homeland security, the police. fire those people. fire them right now. get the money from there. no one was concerned about the budget when bush was fighting a war on two fronts. i was in the national guard and the marines. i did not go the last three times because my son came back. the national guard, it is a good thing i did not go, because all 11 people -- 20 people -- 26 people were killed and injured in that unit. so, eliminate those guys. host: i think we get your point. the guest: i am very sorry.
i can tell that you are emotional about this. i am sorry about your friends and bodies that were killed. that is a problem that we hope will come to a conclusion very quickly. the threat to the world and the united states is still very real. everyone has an opinion on where we should go to stop the taliban and al qaeda. hopefully we will be able to get that job done soon and bring everyone home. one thing, ' when you talk about president bush, the highest deficit that he had was $400 billion. we had over $1 trillion facing us every single year as far as the eye could see and as high as $2 trillion each year. we have to get control of spending. we have increased the debt by $3.60 trillion.
the national debt is $14.60 trillion and going up. we have to get control of spending. talking about president bush, the deficits were to buy, but nothing compared to what we see today. host: democratic line, oklahoma. caller: good morning. i would like to ask you -- how old are you? guest: i know that i look young, but i am social -- 73. caller: do you draw social security? guest: yes. caller: do you need that money? caller: no, i do not. what is your point? caller: if we took you end people like you out of social
security, we would have plenty. a gentleman by the name of george orwell warned us that the fascists would take over this country wearing a flag and carrying a cross. watch the tea party people. the people leaving them are fascists. guest: you are suggesting means testing, one of the things that people have been talking about. it does not go over well with seniors. if you make a certain amount of money, you would get less from social security than your counterpart. that is one of the things that has been discussed on capitol hill. in addition to raising the retirement age. it may come down to that eventually. i do not know that is something you'll have to discuss with everyone who get social
security. i would presume that she would have to create some sort of bureaucracy that would say that if you made this amount you get this amount and less, and less. once again you would have the government controlling how much money people make. host: one of the headlines of many you have seen about the fast and furious program, the house oversight committee is having an -- having an investigation on it this morning. we will have coverage. our guest serve on that committee as well. i wanted to get your reaction to the headline from "the washington times." limiting testimony before your committee today? guest: i do not think that they should limit their testimony. and i was the chairman there for
years. i believe that the current chairman is absolutely correct in bringing them before us. as well as the justice department, trying to find out why we were sending weapons into mexico to kill people and american border control agents. they have to account for that. i am glad he is having that hearing and i will be there at 10:00. host: what questions will you be asking? guest: why would you send weapons to the drug cartel? it makes no sense. i know the argument is that they will try to find out who was using these guns, but there was no mechanism that we know of to track that. second, it sounds like a crazy idea and i would like to know who came up with that caught the mamie program.
-- cocamamie program. host: what do you think they will find? guest: he will have to issue subpoenas. i used to go over 1200 when i was chairman. sometimes when you investigate fraud and abuse in government, you have to force the people involved to give you information. caller: i think that the committee should be busy over the next couple of years in all facets of government. regarding the middle east and financing their, everyone is looking at that as potential savings but i think it would be shortsighted if the united states were to fall back in that area and allow that vacuum of
power to about threats to really stabilize and come at it. guest: i think that israel is extremely important. they are our best friend in the middle east and a democracy. we need their friendship as much as they need ours. we get 35% of our energy from the middle east. if, for some reason, the suez canal or the persian gulf was blocked, we could see severe energy problems in this country. lights, he, air-conditioning, everything else. it is important that we have an ally like israel. making sure they have as much stability as possible. in terms of who we should be supporting, we should be careful with foreign aid to make sure that we are not giving money to
anyone that wants to do was still egypt, lebanon, libya, these other countries in the middle east, we have to know where the money is going. it has to be going to democratic institutions. host: the budget request breaks down like this -- ohio, independent caller. go ahead. caller: never before have i been at this -- disappointed in my government as i am right now. you could take me, a democratic caller, and the republican
caller, and we could solve your problems. you want to have everything held hostage. i am so sick of the people. it drives me nuts. host: 40 concern that all the republicans could be alienating independent voters? caller: -- guest: i know that people are frustrated. they are out of work. the government is spending too much money. they are spending too much in taxes. they should be upset about other things, like the benefits they are getting or not getting. we are trying to find solutions to it right now. if he and others feel that they can do a better job, i suggest they get active in politics and run for congress.
it would be a great idea for you to participate in the process. everyone should be involved in the political process by voting for and supporting people they think can do the job. host: that is our best -- our last segment today on "washington journal." what is it for you? twitter? facebook? what is the best way? guest: the best way is to have a person to person contact, probably through town meetings. or, if you cannot do that, you are indigent and cannot get out, or are incapacitated, i think that handwritten letters directly to a congressman or senator, if they get enough, it will impact their thinking. host: we will talk about that in
45 minutes. first, a news update from c-span radio. >> the no. 2 democrat in the senate, dick durbin, in remarks earlier on msnbc, says that first term house republicans are scared of primary challenges in their home district but added that that is no justification, saying that failure to act could have catastrophic consequences for the economy and could cause ratings agencies to downgrade the american economy. figures show that in 2009 the wealth gaps between whites and minorities grew to their widest level since a quarter of a century. with just over 113,000. hispanics, just over 16,000. the postal service is considering closing more than one in 10 of its retail outlets.
the agency plans to study more than 3600 offices, branches, and stations for closing in the face of declining revenue. >> if you want to be informed about what is happening in the world, particularly in the congress, it is not hard. c-span has a digital, and archive that goes back to 1987 where you can basically watch anything that happens in the house or senate chambers right there on your screen. sources of information that were unimaginable 20 years ago. >> the c-span video library makes it easy to follow washington. access to committee rooms and the house and senate chambers. the peabody award winning c-span video library.
washington, your way. >> the supreme court is now available as a standard in the hand eb-ook -- and enhanced e- book. this new edition includes an interview with the u.s. supreme court justice, elena kagan. there are multimedia clips from all of the justices. available now or ever e-books are sold. >> "washington journal" continues. host: we are back with congress jan schakowsky -- congressmen jan schakowsky -- congresswomen jan schakowsky. harry reid put out his own plan and. speaker boehner put out his own plan. could you vote yes for that in the house bella guest: first of
all, we have to address what is the real crisis right now. the real crisis is that if we allow our country to go into default, to not pay our bills, the consequences, despite what some might say and the republican side, are catastrophic. the full faith and credit of the united states of america, in the world economy, we would see for ordinary americans devastating consequences if we did not do this. we could do this in five minutes. we could pass an increase in the debt ceiling. instead, what some are saying is that we are willing to risk defaults. instead of borrowing money in order to pay our bills -- this is not about allowing for more
spending. this is about paying your bills. we are going to say no, we will not borrow more money from the people that want to lend it to us. we are going to borrow it from the military families. we are going to borrow it from veterans. essentially, that is what we are doing. transferring the money to those that we owe money to. you asked me about harry reid's plan. i would much rather see a plan where we ask millionaires and billionaires to pay more. here is the building about harry reid's plan. it does cut $2.70 trillion over time from our spending. but, it does not cut medicare. social security. and medicaid. something so many families depend on. it does raise the debt ceiling,
avoiding a crisis for a reasonable amount of time. unlike the john boehner plan. which keeps us in perpetual chaos. wondering whether or not in six months the united states is going to pay its bills, of which could result in a lowering of the credit rating. host: our last guest said that this has been the assumption all along. these are not new savings. $1 trillion is not new savings. guest: it is new savings. we talk about the baseline budget and the real budget. right now we are spending that money. if we cut back on the war in iraq, and i would like to see a quicker withdrawal from
afghanistan, those are real dollars being spent right now. this overseas contingency fund, the perpetual war as we have been in for a long time, cutting back saves money. this kind of fancy calculating about your is not being real and the hour is not being real, it is real savings. and host: of the chief deputy whip for the top boats, this is a " from the hill coming from your colleague in arizona. saying that there is an assumption that at the end we have to go along and that it is a political miscalculation on the part of the white house. do you think that the progressive caucus is behind the president?
guest: absolutely. the president is trying to, and did say to the american people, that we have to stop the recklessness. we have to stop the irrationality that is going on right now. we have to act responsibly to say yes, we will get our economic house in order. host: if you look at the two different plans, there are similarities between the two they just go about it in different ways. obviously, john boehner, as we know, this is a two step
process, taking you as the election. -- taking you passed the election. guest: boehner named his plan the two step approach to hold president obama accountable. what i see there is a targeting of the president. that the main goal is political. to keep the president making sure that he will respond to john boehner. of course the president is responding to the congress. congress has to incorporate the money. the president has, over and over, said he is willing to make difficult cuts.
in six months we have to come back and do the same thing. it means that we are going to be in this era of uncertainty. uncertainty for the markets. uncertainty for american families. is this a time that people can invest in the united states of america? should businesses be hiring democrats it is the two steps that are significant. host: "the new york times" says that democrats are likely to solidly lined up against the boehner proposal. will any democrats on your side vote yes? guest: there may be one or two. just enough for them to say that it is bipartisan. like the cut, cap, and balance
proposal. nine republicans voted against that. not a bipartisan plan. the democrats are going to vote against the john boehner plan. is it cynical plan. it has a change of the goalposts. congress, not doing what the commission says it is going to do, the debt ceiling cannot go up ever. it is very harsh and not reasonable. so, we are going to vote no. i am not sure that john boehner has the votes. i think a number of people in his caucus, regardless of the formulation are going to vote to raise the debt ceiling. host: sounds like you do not see a way for both sides to come together.
guest: john boehner was looking for $100 billion in revenue increases. eric cantor said that he did not want to see a raising of the debt limit. it is hard to deal with a moving target. telling them to negotiate when the negotiating demands keep changing. having said that, i think that the consequences are so great, if we let this deadline go, i have got to believe that somehow or other we have got to be able to do that. on the larger question of how we are going to deal with what i think is a crisis, jobs, income inequality, the debt, which as i mentioned, i was on the debt commission. of course we can do that.
can we do it by august 2? for sure. in five minutes we could come together and say -- let's avoid is the fault crisis and then let's immediately sent them and figure out the rest. host: credit ratings agencies have said that that will not be enough. guest: and we are willing to do that. if not in the next five days, perhaps the next couple of weeks. people will be willing to stay and make that happen. but willing to stay 24 hours per day to figure this out? we hope to pressure wall street and americans, the world economy, that that will be in the to get us to the compromise commission. host: in the proposals for a
path forward, another deficit panel made up of recommendations on the deficit commission. people in washington, politico, rolling their eyes. what do you think about the prospects of another committee taking a look at this. guest: the difference, as i understand it, is that it would be six members of congress, three from each party, it would be a mixture, evenly matched. the question is, is that going to make more progress than a gang of six? a gang of five? a gang of eight? coming up with a plan? i am not sure about that, but we are willing to do it.
if this is what republicans require, that is my point. we have moved. we have done so many things that they want to deal with it the debt. one thing that was really happy about that the president did, he reminded people how we got here. the republicans had to say that most of this huge stuff that we have right now is due to president obama. absolutely not true. most of it was tax cuts that went to the rich under the bush administration and wars. host:, a [unintelligible] goetzman has said that he would not run again -- host: congressman [unintelligible] has said that he will not run again. your thoughts?
guest: i am reluctant to call someone guilty without an investigation. i do not know that he has ruled out resigning. i do not know any of the details about this. guest: according to his office, he is thinking about his political future, but he does not plan -- host: according to his office, he is thinking about his political future and does not plan on running again. caller: i have a couple of comments that i wanted to make. i do not like cal republicans or democrats like to accuse the president that it is his fault for the debt ceiling. congress has the power of the purse. if they really wanted to fix the debt ceiling, they could.
all they would have to do is, basically, we have all sorts of natural resources. we are the saudi arabia of natural gas. oil. we could probably do the whole thing within a matter of years. no one is bringing this to the table because we are greedy. we like energy and oil. >> you are saying that -- guest: you are saying that if we stopped paying for foreign oil, we would certainly have more money. i do not disagree. i do not know that it would pay off everything, but i think we need to look at domestic sources. not only with oil and gas. we have the capacity and creativity to use more electric cars. to use alternative energies like solar, thermal, wind, that are
ready to go, if we were to actually produce things right here. you may not know, we invented a lot of these technologies. and yet, when this stuff actually gets made, like batteries for electric cars, where do you think we buy them from? china. it makes no sense at all. the energy drain is a lot from the economy. host: we have one e-mail question -- do we have enough money to pay for our debts or do we not? the debt ceiling deadline may be more fluid? one paper noted that august 2nd may not be the deadline. that the government may not be able to pay its bills longer than august 2.
guest: i do not know what the difference is in one week. we would see a huge change in interest rates that affect all americans. the answer, basically, is no. what he said, when he called, is that it is congress who has set spending limits and appropriated the money. so, these are bills that we have in our a stack. just like that home. these are bills that need to be paid. august 2? my understanding is, absolutely. no, we do not have the money to pay those bills. host: traci, michigan. caller: just a few comments. i wanted to say that i am amazed that the debt ceiling is an issue and i blame the
republican and tea party people for that. it was raised seven times under george bush and suddenly it is a problem? there is a revenue problem that is not just a spending problem. they do not pay a fair share in their taxes. the people in washington, they are playing games and i am personally tired of it. my life is in your hands, that is not fair. if you had seen the dialing the read dial number during the first guests, i was going to let him have it. you have a nice day. >> i could not agree more. not only was it raised eight times under george bush, but 18 times under ronald reagan, who made a stern warning to the congress that they should not
play games with the debt ceiling. we are the only country in the world that does not do it on an automatic basis. for the republicans to hold it hostage, a man named john paulson brought in a hedge fund manager. $5 billion in income last year. out there to pay the same week that you do on your taxes. when you have capital gains and hedge fund managers who are allowed to pay by and large 15%. this is an outrage. if americans feel offended by the fact that nowhere in the republican proposals is there anything that cuts one hair off of the head of the millionaires and billionaires while asking seniors, veterans, and our military to bear the brunt, i think that that is not only
unfair, but other american. host: do you oppose the harry reid proposal? guest: you know what? we are going to have to be adults here and say that we are going to raise the debt ceiling and do something more reasonable than what the republicans have proposed to get there. i will support that. and i will continue to hammer away at why we are not asking the wealthiest americans in this country, who have sucked up all of the increases, all the growth that we have seen in the country over the last couple of decades, it has gone to the rich. the crisis that we have right now is that the middle class is disappearing. host: as a former member of the
deficit commission, do you think that there should have been more of a push for that from the administration, given where we are now? guest: i voted no, but i offered my own plan to cut the deficit even more. i had more from revenues and different sources of cuts in spending. i did balance that budget. little known fact about some symbols, it began by saying in the fragileo damage toug recovery, cuts should not happen until 2013. they may have had recommendations for cuts that i did not like. shifting costs to seniors under medicare, which i did not think
we needed to do. but that, i think, was a salient point. that somehow this myth, if we cut them out, that it will create more jobs, is exactly the opposite. host: john, independent. caller: democrats especially, are so concerned about getting us through the next election. it seems to me that with this being the most important problem our country has, it should be a referendum on the next election. let the people decide what they want. instead of putting it off. c'mon, let's make it the next issue in the election. host: john, what would you like to happen? caller: i would like to see the deficit lifted by $1 trillion,
$1.50 trillion. that's fine. let's get it solved by an election. all that i hear no is demagoguery. host: let me jump in. you are thinking that the pressure of the 2012 election will bring them together? guest: he is saying that the boehner two step plan -- caller: that is what i am closest to, but i think it should be a national issue. we shall all love this stuff under the rug, the pilot steered is getting so high that no one can climate. we have to face these problems here. it will not bother me if they tax the rich more. it will not bother me, even though i am on social security. if they have to cut my pay by 10%, that is fine.
guest: first of all, it is not about the next election. this is to provide a certain amount of certainty to our economic situation. we have never done that, step by step, little by little, conditionally raising the debt ceiling. we have always said the united states of america pays its bills. and there is no evidence whatsoever that the democrats are not willing to sit down and balance the budget. there is such a short term memory here in this country. just over one decade ago we handed george w. bush a balanced budget with a surplus. we have a history of fiscal responsibility. of making sure that we do keep our income and expenditures in line. there is no reluctance on the
part of the democrats to work out a plan. but you cannot keep changing the goal post. this is not about the next election. this is about providing some measure of certainty. host: this twitter message -- what has changed? guest: what has changed. occasionally people have voted against raising the debt ceiling on both sides of the aisle. but no one has ever stood there to obstruct the actual raising of that debt ceiling. they have expressed their opinion not to do it. barack obama, saying that we should not engage in the war in iraq, spending up to $1 trillion in that war? i get it. i understand that this is not
legitimate. if barack obama organized enough democrats to say, as a consequence, that we will not pay for that? that we will not pay for the men and women in the military? he did not express an opinion. so have republicans. john boehner, eric cantor, they did not always vote to raise the debt ceiling. host: republican line, asheville, north carolina. caller: i would like to continue on what they are talking about. watching this thing going on, the one referendum that we need is time. people should be able to support two terms, going back to work and paying no more money. has anyone ever figured out how much money we are paying to
people in congress that are no longer there? since this president was in office, through the november election, the democrats have had total rule. everything came to the floor under call -- under closed rules and they got everything they . that is one reason we have at tea party. .ost: let's get a response guest: on the question of term limits -- this is an idea that is attractive to people. if you have people who serve for only four years -- there is a permanent group of people outside the congress called lobbyists, who actually have a lot of institutional memory. they have been here a long time. they have more expertise. they know -- four years is not really a long time to know how the system works.
my fear is it would be those people and a permanent staff people -- the permanent staff people who would be running the country, not so much the people who get elected for such a short period of time. host: spokane, washington, are democrat -- our democrat line. caller: i do not understand how representatives in washington can consider cutting the military. i am not just talking about active military. i am talking about retired and disabled military. our men and women have served our country proudly. they have given up. their families have given up. now, when we depend on the help from our disability checks or from the military checks, they are talking about cutting the military checks. they serve our country. they protect us and kept us
safe. why would the people in washington, who we elect, do this to our military? i do not quite understand. guest: i agree with you. one of the reasons i voted against the simpson-bowles debt reduction plan, on the military part -- and i do think we have a bloated military -- they took out a lot of our active military, the health care plan, the veterans, the long-term care plans for veterans, and i do think that is where we -- do not think that is where we need to go. people who serve in the military do it out of patriotism for their country, not because they want to get rich. they will not get rich. that is not the place we are going -- need to go. if we were to default on paying our bills, some of the checks that will not go out would, in fact, be to tear families and
two veterans, as well as shall so security -- to military families and veterans, as well as social security recipients. that is unacceptable, to play a hostage game with those checks. i agree with you. host: molly, independent caller in charleston, west virginia. caller: hello. i have been listening to certain things that have been going on. i think that, for one, we need to shut down nafta, period because, that is where all of our money is going to -- overseas. if you lower the taxes and have businesses come back to america, that is going to help as well. maybe give them a tax break instead of sending all of our companies to china or wherever else, and get some of that back. reagan had as out of debt in the
1980's -- had us out of debt in the 1980's. why raise the debt ceiling? we are going to have to cut out some of these laboratories that are expecting -- inspecting insects and things like that. host: different earmarks. guest: she was talking about jobs going overseas. as someone who opposed nafta it originally, i agree with her on some of these trade agreements or originally, i agree with her on some of these trade agreements. you are not one to benefit from sending our jobs overseas. that would be one sacred cow of
the republican party. they say, no, we do not want to cut that tax break from corporations that send our jobs overseas. essentially, i agree. a number of our trade agreements actually favor multinational corporations and not the american worker. cutting waste -- we do not want to spend money on things that are not useful. there is plenty of waste that we want to cut. and that part, i think republicans and democrats agree -- whistle spending now we should get rid of the -- wasteful spending, we should get rid of it. caller: i am a veteran on social security. i am very disappointed with both the democrats and republicans, because they are acting like
children. it is "i want, i want, i want," but they do not care about the people. it is the people who put them in the office. we need to get our act together. i agree, too, that these jobs need to come back. i mean, china owns us -- actually owns us because of the debt. guest: i understand what you are saying and completely do sympathize. it is not true that all members of congress do not understand what ordinary people are feeling. we go home on the weekend. we go to the grocery store. an elderly couple came up to me last weekend at the grocery store and asked me how we could help them apply for food stamps. i have been two foreclosure workshops where i see the american dream -- to foreclosure
workshops where i see the american dream slipping for people's -- through people's fingers. we have to pay our bills. yes, we have to lower the deficit, but we have to do it in a fair and balanced way, making the rich who are getting richer pay their fair share, and make sure that the programs that you depend on my veterans benefits, social security -- like that veterans' benefits, social security -- host: this point is brought up by republicans repeatedly. the house democrats did not pass a budget on their own. was that a mistake?
guest: not passing a budget is true of both parties. i am in my seventh term now. there were many times when we did not have a budget. we have actual appropriations. those are passed. so, we acknowledge the things that we need to do and we appropriate money to do it. the budget that was passed by the republicans in the house of representatives is so devastating and absolutely balances the budget on the backs medicaid.americans and peopl they say they are trying to protect medicaid. it is like destroying the village in order to save it. the ryan republican budget, which went nowhere in the senate, and they knew it, was not a real effort in passing the budget.
it wasn't a deal logical perpent -- it was an ideological blueprint. host: democratic caller next in cleveland, ohio. you are on the air. caller: i receive disability. i am disabled. i have heard obama speak. i feel that he is for the american people. i want to -- i am wondering what is going to happen to people that are disabled if they refuse to send out checks. what is going to happen to our children and our families? what are the president and government planning to do about housing and stuff like that if we all become homeless? guest: i do not want to scare people. we have to make sure that we can send that check to you.
the consequences, as you have said, for you, personally, one person, could be devastating. could you be homeless? no. i do not know your situation, in terms of your disability, but it must be very severe right now. that is why we need to -- we need you, as the president asked, to communicate with your member of congress that we need to have a fair and balanced plan. can we ask medicare recipients to sacrifice while corporate jet owners and oil companies get tax breaks? we have to do sensible things so that you do not end up homeless. and guess what? if we do not help you in the way that we are right now we your disability check -- with your disability check, it will be more expensive down the line. you will be in the emergency
room, homeless on the street -- that is intolerable in the richest country in the world. we need to make sure that your needs are met with that check,w huge. i'm sure is not i am going to do everything i can to make sure you get it. host: there is a story in the "national journal," about how web sites were crashing -- websites were crashing after the president called for people to reach at to the representative is as -- reach out to their representative. guest: i tell my constituents, who know my position, it helped
me to hear from you. let in know anyway. -- let me know anyway. you mentioned the harry reid plan. it does not touch entitlements. i credit the american people, as well as the senate democrats, for that. they are expressing their views. host: that is our topic coming up, how to best influence your lawmaker. what do you think the best way is to reach out to you? is the person to person at town hall meeting? is it facebook -- is it person- to-person at a town hall meeting? is it facebook? guest: something is always better than nothing.
a could be signing the petition. e-mail is very important. when they start loading up the e-mails. phone calls, if they are shutting down the office phone, that gets noticed. all of the areas of communication, new media, facebook, tweeting, whatever it is, make your voice heard. host: for you to talk to your constituents, what has been the benefit, if at all, of social media? guest: we use it all. we used facebook. we will put out videos so that people can see what i said directly. we will tweet and respond to tweets. we do an e-mail newsletter. occasionally, we still do snail mail. there are some people who want to get that letter. but we use all the tools available to us to communicate.
host: that will be our topic coming up in a few minutes. there is a new report about social media, its impact. what is the best way to influence your lawmaker? one more phone call for the congresswoman. peter, an independent in cambridge, massachusetts, you are on the air. caller: hello? guest: hello. host: go ahead. caller: first of all, this person illustrates all that is wrong with this country. she illustrates the political class -- host: you know what, i will leave it there. you are hearing us in the background, it is confusing you and the viewers. do you have confidence that the
debt ceiling will be raised? guest: i believe that it will be raised. the markets seemed to have confidence right now. i hope they are communicating to members of congress. i think the consequences are so devastating that it has got to be sobering for the majority of members of congress. host: how closely do you watch the markets? what are you looking for that says investors are not happy? guest: in the congress, it seems as if they continue to have confidence that we're going to do the right thing. certainly, i'm going to do everything i can do prove them right. the business community needs to communicate to the republicans and democrats, as well, but the republicans, especially. host: congresswoman schakowsky, thank you.
we have a news update from c- span radio. >> gene sperling, speaking earlier on msnbc, says that it is not time for doomsday scenarios when it comes to the debt ceiling. at the same time, he went on to refer to president obama's past statements, threatening to veto legislation with no more than a six-month extension. as for the state of personal finances in the u.s., the new associated press poll found that nearly half of the country was experiencing that stress, up 17% from november of last year. one report just released on home prices in major cities showed that prices rose for the second straight month in may, propped up by spring buyers. it shows that home prices were up in 16 of 20 cities that it tracks, boston posting the business -- biggest increase, followed by minneapolis and washington, d.c.
those are some of the latest headlines. >> with titles like "slander," "godless," and "demonic," and kolter has something to say -- ann coulter has something to say. sunday on "booktv." >> every weekend, it is american history tv on c-span3 -- 48 hours of people and events telling the american story. watch personal interviews on " oral histories." revisit key figures, battles, an event during the 150th anniversary of the civil war -- and events during the 150th anniversary of the civil war. the presidency looks at
policies and legacies of past american presidents. our complete schedule at c- sign up for our e-mail alerts. >> "washington journal" continues. host: our topic for the next 45 minutes -- the best way to influence your lawmaker. bradford fitch is the offer of the -- author of "citizen's handbook to influencing elected officials." he is also the president and ceo of the congressional management foundation, out with a new report on the influence that social media has on lawmakers. guest: one of the largest findings was that social media has arrived on capitol hill. congress is not always well known for adopting technology. it can sometimes be slow, and that has not been the case with social media. members have been driving themselves to get offices to use
social medium. that is a major finding. by a 10-to-one margin, staff feel that social media have allow them -- social media allows them to reach people who might not have previously engaged. host: how do members of congress feel that this type of communication is impacting their communication with constituents? how important are the following for understanding constituents' views and opinions? about 77% say that it is very important to attend events in the district/state. only 21% said somewhat important. 8% and 56%. the g guest: your previous guests,
congressman schakowsky -- guest, congresswoman schakowsky -- people were reacting to her comments. it is an instant public opinion poll. we talk to interview -- talk to staff people. it is a way to put the dialogue out and watch it happen. get the flavor of what people think about the ideas that members are talking about. host: we want to hear from the viewers about what you think the best way is to influence your lawmaker. what has been your experience when you have called, tweeted, or saw them at a townhall meeting? democrats -- (202)624-1111, republicans -- (202)624-1115m
independents -- (202)624-0760. let's talk about how far the senate has come. this web site was put up by edward kennedy -- website was put up by edward kennedy's office. guest: they have come so far. they have really embraced it. they have tried to provide services and guidance for members when it comes to using youtube and facebook. first website -- the first website was put up by mit because the senate did not want a senator to have a website. host: and they didn't have today --st forward toda they now have -- they now have
10 or 12 templates that they can choose. it is good economically. we're not producing as much paper. we're not killing as many trees when we use online communication. it benefits the taxpayer, in the end. host: what about the recent scandals? anthony wiener? how has that impacted the use of social media? guest: it has not made any one retract from using social media. there should be rules about it, some have said. no, you argue, cannot make rules for good judgment. we have always had people using
mediums inappropriately and members of congress are no different. you cannot replace good judgment. members should be using good practices when they engage in social media activity. is it integrated into their web sites? is it easy for the constituent to interact with the social media? what content are they putting out? these fifth grade food fight that seemed to happen on twitter do not accomplish a lot. there was a great column in "the washington post." she was longing for eight-second soundbites. the president announced his vice-presidential pick online. we encourage members to use them in the way they are intended, transparency, communicating what you are doing on land in the
district, and explaining -- doing in the district, and explaining how things should work. host: one unnamed member quoted in the report noted that delivery of a speech -- guest: that is what we are seeing. there is no separation. we have a number of members who will take the same content and then post it on their facebook page and then tweak about it -- tweet about it. they are getting the whole effect, and their constituents are benefiting as a result. host: you can find our video library on there are news conferences.
we have been covering it all. if you want to hear what a lawmaker has to say, not just a sound bite, you can go to c- larry, a republican. what has been your experience with influencing or lawmaker, reaching out to caller:: we have a good -- reaching out? caller: we have a good line of communication. what i think would be to send a message about term limits, like was brought up earlier on the program. when you do not like what they do, do not leave those folks up there. send a message. that is very clear. host: we are a non-partisan, non-policy organization. we do not take positions on term limits or any other view. we just try to encourage people to send those messages as frequently as they can.
he mentioned the book -- you mentioned the book, congressional management foundation bears this out -- citizens have a bigger, more powerful voice than they realize. there are the pollsters -- they are the pollsters. they're using social media to integrate into their process. host: what is the congressional management foundation? what do you do? guest: we were founded to help with the operation of individual offices that were operating like small businesses. we could research what salaries were and how to run the office. one of our most well-known pieces of research looks at best
practices for websites. we're in our seventh round of evaluating websites. host: here is a tweet. guest: i know there is a raging debate about the influence of social media as a force for political change. and look at what happened in iran or egypt, now in the united states. i know that is a fair discussion. we have not looked at the impact, in the macro sense, but on the micro since -- 164% of congressional staff say -- when 64% of congressional staff say that facebook is important, that is a big number. it did not exist a few years
ago. host: anne, an independent in idaho falls. thanks for waiting. caller: thank you. i have a very good relationship with my senators and congressmen. i feel that by visiting their office in person every few months, i develop a personal acquaintance with their staff. i send handwritten or typed letters, original, that specify what i want them to do, why i want them to do it, reiterate what i want them to do. i attend each townhall meeting. yes, you wanted to say something? host: if i could ask, how old are you? caller: 67.
host: i wonder if there is a demographic differences. she has done as the traditional way of going to the town hall -- townhall meetings and writing letters. does that have more influence than a young person following them on twitter or commenting on their facebook page? guest: it your member of congress has not already arrived at a firm decision -- if you're a member of congress has not already arrived at a firm decision -- 97% of respondents of congressional staffers said that input from constituents would have some influence. e-mail is still valuable. there is not much difference in the delivery system, it goes in the same bucket.
matter is did they personalize it, did they tell a personal story? i cannot tell you the number of people who would be influenced by one story. i asked one member of congress about a tough decision he made. he said, yeah, i just changed my position to being in favor of stem cell research. i said, you are pro-life republican. he said there was a 17-year-old boy from my district -- his district. he talked abut his diabetes and hope for a cure. -- he talked about his diabetes and hope for a cure. the member had to research his position and change his mind. you can capture one idea, one impact.
host: what about quantity? we heard from congresswoman schakowsky saying, if you flood my office or e-mail, that has an impact. guest: i bet her staff loved that. [laughter] quantity does have an impact, quality matters though when it comes to advocacy. if you have a group of people who are very knowledgeable about an issue and they come to an office or town-hall meeting, that can make a difference. the other important thing is, does the person have an interest or an opinion? varity the kinds of people who talk to a member of congress -- vera are two kinds of people who talk to a member of congress -- there are two kinds of people who talked to a member of congress. if someone says, i think we should get out of iraq because my daughter is there, that really does make a difference. the constant, whether or not the
onstituent -- content and whether or not the constituent has an interest. host: where do you think it goes? guest: call me crazy, but i think this facebook thing is going to stick around. i think there are more bibbers platforms that will become available for members of congress -- diverse platforms that will become available for members of congress. it allows the members and staff to abrogate -- aggregate information. we were doing an interview with a member. she said, yeah, i get 20 or so comments on facebook. that is 20, not 20,000. the other piece of data that came out in the survey, which
was not directly related to social media, telephone townhall meetings have really arrived. 83% of respondents said that was important for understanding constituent views and opinions. that is scalable. if you have the opportunity and you are invited, it's just one other way members can be transparent and accountable using technology. host: let's go to dallas, stephen, a democratic caller. caller: thank you. i am a realist. they hear, but they don't listen. they react, but they don't act. how about the politicians listening to the guide was not a
special interest group, lobbyist, or somebody with the check -- guy who is not a special-interest group, abbyist, are somebodor somebodh check to write? let them deal with real life, instead of being in a bubble. host: the social media allow members to have a better feeling an indication -- does social media allow members to have a better feeling an indication of real life -- and indication of real life? guest: i believe that it does. how many members are involved in debt-ceiling negotiations? 546. what are the others doing -- 5 or 6. what are the others doing? they are meeting with groups and
constituents, real citizens coming together to petition their government for redress of grievances. research shows that the members to listen. they do want to, frankly, get reelected. they are always looking at social media and other various ways to define public opinion. host: do people like house speaker john boehner or house majority -- senate majority leader harry reid, do they have more followers on their twitter page or things like that? guest: i think the number one is john mccain, which is not an indication that john mccain is active and doing things, just that people picked him. one of the interesting things about twitter is that the number does not matter as much as the group.
i was doing a presentation a couple of weeks ago in san francisco. there was one person tweakinetin the front. i found out the next day that he had 1.5 million followers. what matters is who are their followers and how are they re- tweeting that information. i come from the old press school where you look at circulation and things like that. twitter and facebook cannot translate perfectly -- do not translate perfectly. you can follow up @cspanwj. we highlight -- like after last night's speech, we took a member comments and put them all together in one place. you can see what they had to
say as they reacted to not only president obama, about how speaker boehner as well -- but house speaker boehner as well. jerry in tennessee. good morning. caller: good morning. my personal experience has been whenever i sent an e-mail to the congressperson on topical subject matter, what i receive back is a pre-printed response from the party. in other words, you can ask them a question, give them a suggestion, but what, you get what in my -- but what you get back in my experience, is a pre- printed message on that subject -- is there any way around that? guest: we estimate that members
of congress have seen an increase in the communications of anywhere from 3 under% to six and a% -- 300% to 600% in the last 5 to 10 years. a senate office from a major state could get 20,000 to 30,000 e-mails in 1 week. the challenge is, they have seen this increase in the communications with out an increase in personnel -- without an increase in personnel. the last time the permanent cap was increased was in 1974. the gas was up 5 cents per gallon -- at 5 cents per gallon, to put that in perspective. there will be layoffs, probably. host: they are sending out the
mass e-mails -- guest: the staffers are working from 50 to 60 hours a week and the weekends, trying to match up the information and communication to try to be responsive. host: let's hear from william, a republican in buffalo, new york. caller: i'm calling to question, to some extent, who do these people actually represent? do they represent the individuals in their district, or just their own personal opinion? none of our state representatives has changed his -- one of our state representatives has changed his opinion without checking
with anyone. the people within his district, probably not earning more than $250,000 per year -- who do they represent? guest: i asked what factors went into decision making. one member said, i follow the three h's -- head, heart, health. they all want to study the issues and make large policy decisions. heart -- the story. the health -- 50% plus 1%. they are trying to divine public opinion through variety of media. they get reports on the
communications coming into their congressional office on what people are talking about. they walk by a different desk. they ask what people are calling about. they are information collectors. they try to aggregate and figure out what is the right decision for their district. host: karen, you are on the air with mr. fitch. go ahead. caller: thank you for taking my call. i have presented over 2000 positions to strengthen social security. we did group visits, town halls. i am offended by my representative signing the norquist letter. he has nothing to do with our district. how dare he signed that letter. -- sign that letter.
host: do you think he made an impact by delivering those petitions? caller: he absolutely blew me off. other people brought up the same subject and he changed the subject. host: will you continue to try to reach out? caller: yes. my representative said, -- what he said when he was running for office is completely different from what he is doing now. host: what do you think of that experience? guest: freshman legislators are still learning the ropes. we help them integrate the data. this class is obviously a little different than others. have been cohesive. they have come into office time. -- into office in a short period of time. most issues are not medicare,
medicaid, social security, and those are very important issues. if you look at the 13 meetings that a member has on their calendar on a daily basis, and that is the average, it is not filled with discussions of medicare, debt ceiling, things like that. it is filled with ophthalmologists concerned about a new va regulation. there are very arcane, niche issues that never get covered. that is why people do not understand that they are listening to constituents. most of the work that most of the congress does does not make it to the front page. host: bradford fitch of the -- bradford fitch, president and ceo of the congressional management foundation. we have about 20 minutes left to
talk about the best way to influence your lawmaker. what has your experience been? does the use of social media break down along party lines? is one party better at it than the other? guest: there is research that suggests republicans are doing a better and more robust job on twitter. they have set contest between members of congress -- a contest between members of congress for who could do the most wheating -- tweeting. tthere -- there is a differential, but not much. democrats are very much involved and engaged in the online communications using show full media -- social media. host: why is john mccain's twitter page so popular?
guest: he was running for president at the time when twitter was coming on line. -- online. free media drives online media. this has been the case sicne the -- since the beginning of online. john mccain won the new hampshire primary in a surprise move in 2000, raising all that money in one week. take a member of congress who was held as a prisoner of war in vietnam, and then build a website. it is the person driving the message. host: the common one --
@celladrella tweets in guest: it is -- i think facebook, twitter, and youtube are some of the greatest accountability tools that have been created. they offer this authentic interaction with legislators and elected officials. host: if you're interested in your conversation -- the conversation we're having, you can go to, our website on we post the comments that people put up after the president's speech last night, after news conferences, people's reaction to the conversations we have on "washington journal." let's go to andre in texas. caller: i think there's a lot of
influence in the primary. once they get to congress, i think influence goes away because they get into bed with lobbyists. i think the majority of elections do not go to the people that have the best policy. it goes to the ones who can get their voice heard and be seen on the commercials. the money wins the election. host: what do staffers say about influence of lobbyists versus the 300 e-mails they may get on an issue? guest: when asked, 46% said that the said -- 46% said they were influenced by
constituents, only 8% lobbyists. i have been in the town for 25 years. i have been a confidential adviser to dozens of members of congress. lobbyists mainly woo lawmakers with facts and then try to organize constituents and citizens to get behind campaigns. that is out advocacy works in the 21st century -- how advocacy works in the 21st century. guest: i see what you mean. if you go to our website, and you look under the citizen relations section, perceptions of citizen advocacy on capitol hill -- you can get a very good read of what is influenced, where the media
fall, e-mail, phone calls. phone calls tend to be tallied, so it is harder to communicate a complex message. e-mails are often summarize. town-hall meetings are the perfect way to communicate to members of congress. citizens can call up their member of congress and they can get meetings in the district, especially groups. the house of representatives changed its schedule to 13 recesses. they canceled one, they still have 12. those in-district meetings are a great way to know district staff. host: an e-mail quetion. -- question.
have studies been done on the relationship of social media and voting? guest: yes, there have. the pew center is a source for this research. people engaged in social media are more likely to be engaged in the electoral process. people who write to their member of congress are more likely to vote, a campaign, contribute -- vote, campaign, contribute. they are more likely to be politically active. host: peachtree, georgia. caller: i think it is hard for the average citizen to have any sort of effective conversation with their congressman. they do not have enough money. they do not have the lobbyists. they just do not have the influence that it takes to get
good legislation that is in the public's interest. i have seen legislation presented by democrats and republicans. it will not be in the interest of the american populace, but it gets past time and time again -- passed time and time again. the free trade agreements that this president is trying to get passed -- it is just one example of what is not happening for the american people. host: mr. fitch. guest: i think that congress gets a bad rap. i think congress does a better job than it is portrayed. pew did some research and asked members of congress how many hours they worked. 75% of members reported that they work 70 hours a week or more. we will go in the field with the survey to do work-life balance study this summer to try to help them deal with the challenges they faced. -- face.
again, our research shows they are trying to listen. it is challenging in environment when there are so many ways to communicate to members of congress, with social media, in- person meetings come at e-mail, letters -- meetings, e-mail, letters, but research shows they are trying to listen. host: on twitter -- there is definitely a correlation to influencing the media and influencing legislators. members of congress read the newspaper. we asked what has more influence directed to the district office -- an editorial or a letter to the editor? the letter to the editor won out. if you want to influence a legislator, write a letter to the editor and put the congressmember's name in it.
it is a very effective way to communicate your view. yo uare -- you are saying, i am not talking only to you, but to your constituents as well. staffers and members are paying attention to that. if you are a representative, if you had a major union the dow, they have more influence than the average -- major union, they do have more influence than the average citizen. host: republican line, help me with the name of your town. caller: we are the home of the summer camp for the bears. i am very concerned about who speaks for the silent majority. people do not know we have a $14 trillion debt. they have no idea about that.
we elect people -- i am very disappointed with my own republican party, because we seem to have elected the right- wing people. 65% of us are middle of the road. we want the best decisions for our country. i am very disappointed about the lack of civility, the disrespect for the president. most people do not know that will dollars trillion we got under president bush -- that $12 trillion of this debt, we got under president bush. host: how do members take in and differentiate opinions like hers -- if there are republican member of congress hearing from a democrat -- who has more influence? does the republican have more influence with the republican? guest: their action prohibited
from keeping that data in their database -- they are actually prohibited from keeping that data in their database. certain communities go certain ways, so they can guess sometimes. this is another interesting way that members of congress are using social media to communicate what congress does, offering this inside view, whether it is that we coming out of a committee hearing, or a social media of -- it is a tweet coming out of the canadian hearing, or a social media -- coming out of a committee hearing or other social media. we encourage them to do that. people do not know how the government works. it does work a lot like your fifth-grade social studies teacher told you. we have seen members of congress try to explain complicated
legislation to their constituents. there is one member who has a wonderful section on his website. after every issue -- what am i going to do about it? what a great accountability tool. host: there are a handful of people negotiating on the debt ceiling. if you're interested in following them coming here is senator harry reid's twitter -- following them, he here is senator reed's twitter page. you can follow eric cantor, nancy pelosi, john boehner, etc. caller: good morning. when i receive e-mail from the democratic party for donations, i do not see a seal on there. i am afraid to give money out. i might be giving it to the tea party or something. i'm a senior citizen.
i have trouble breathing, so i can't do a lot of getting around. i want everybody to know that, in my 60's, i marched against the iraq war. host: before you go, what do you think marching did? did you think that had an impact? caller: i thought it would because so many people marched in so many states, and it did not seem to do anything. know.t we tried to stop the war. we knew it was going to cost a lot of money. my girlfriend has lost -- she never got her money back. host: david in magnolia, texas, you are on the air.
caller: i have lived all around the country. now i'm in texas. i think haley -- kay bailey hutchison has the best staff. don did not get the internet till he was six months in office. you can get letters online delivered to your congressman. does that work? guest: i will get in trouble with some company that makes money off of this. you can do that. it may speed up the delivery of a paper letter. it will go through a different delivery system, but it will end up in the same pile as if you sent to their website or to a
an e-mail. host: what about third-party groups versus your individual letter? does it have more impact if you get a bunch of letters from one group? guest: it is individualized, if the constituent explains how this -- if it is individualized, if the constituent explains how it impacts them. research shows again be 10 times more powerful if they personalize. the small business owner saying, i have 10 employees will be affected by this. if you're a senior citizen who has 20 others to agree on the issue. people do respond to the third- party solicitation encouragements to send communication to capitol hill. host: david, a democratic